This just in: Kids (and adults!) can get hurt on trampolines! It must have been a slow news day over at NBC for this story to reach their flagship morning program, the TODAY Show. The network dedicated a four-minute segment to the hazards of hopping, saying the number of injuries caused at trampoline parks has risen from 581 in 2010 to 6,932 in 2014. A startling increase indeed, though earlier in their broadcast they mention that the number of parks in the States has grown from around three total a decade ago to over 800 today.
Granted, there are dangers associated with flinging one’s body through the air on coiled springs and canvas. Dangers that are well recognized by the International Assn. of Trampoline Parks (IATP) which ensures its membership adheres to extensive, universally-recognized ASTM safety standards.
The segment fails to mention this, however, opting instead to focus on the fact that only nine states have government regulations on trampoline parks. NBC producers contacted IATP Executive VP Bethany Evans, but decided against including that wide-ranging interchange in their piece.
“It was disappointing that they opted to sensationalize the story,” Evans said in an email with RePlay. In her answers to NBC, Evans talks about what the association does to help mitigate the dangers inherent to trampoline parks, including a consumer awareness campaign to help the public stay cognizant of those dangers. In lieu of state regulations, IATP is working nationwide towards implementing an inspection scheme in an effort to increase safety in the industry. Additionally, she points out that Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data indicates injuries from trampoline parks is lower or on par with common youth sports.
“We believe the health benefits (cardiovascular, muscular, coordination, social interaction) of active bouncing far outweigh the negatives,” Evans said.
6,932 injuries yearly are a lot, and we can all agree that the ideal number would be zero. But CPSC data also shows that in 2012 there were nearly 100,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with personally owned trampolines. Yet millions of kids and adults nationwide are still flocking to trampoline parks and buying a bouncer for their backyard. The question has to be is the manageable risk of jumping on a trampoline worth it, and who can best mitigate that risk? Over-stressed parents happy to let their kids jump for an hour so they can get some rest, or a professionally run business with safety measures in place?